Effects of a Reading Strategy Training Aimed at Improving Mental Simulation in Primary School Children

Björn B. de Koning*, Lisanne T. Bos, Stephanie I. Wassenburg, Menno van der Schoot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study investigated the effects of a mental simulation training targeted at improving children’s reading comprehension. In a 4-week period, one group of third and fourth graders (n = 75) learned to draw upon their sensorimotor memories and experiences to mentally simulate text (experimental training group), whereas another group (n = 51) received the schools’ regular reading comprehension instructions (control training group). Pre-to-posttest differences in general reading comprehension, reading motivation, and mental simulation (distinguishing between perceptual and motor simulation) were examined to evaluate the trainings’ effectiveness. Compared to the control group, children who had received the mental simulation training showed improved performance on general reading comprehension (in Grade 3) and scored higher on reading motivation (in Grades 3 and 4). There were no performance differences between groups on the mental simulation measures. These findings indicate that it is beneficial for children to encourage and teach them to connect their sensorimotor experiences to the text they are reading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-889
Number of pages21
JournalEducational Psychology Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Embodied cognition
  • Intervention
  • Mental simulation
  • Primary school children
  • Reading comprehension


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